Saturday, April 23, 2016

Just a few small changes...

Dogwood blossoms in the front yard
photo by carrie forbes

So it's a little different around here. I'm still working on the blog redesign so please bear with me!

Looking for a recipe? They aren't going anywhere! Check out the recipe index for older recipes and if you can't find something try a google search by using the food term, such as "cookies" and then typing "gingerlemongirl" and you'll find it! If you don't have any luck, just send me an email (gingerlemongirl at gmail dot com) and I'll be glad to find it for you and send you the link... and hopefully before too long, I'll have that recipe index completely up to date!

However, life is different... cooking is literally on the back burner and it just doesn't happen very often anymore. Instead I'm going to grad school (at a snail's pace... one little class at a time...), I'm focusing on self-care and wellness, I'm reading Murder, She Wrote novels (and watching the reruns allll the time on netflix when I have downtime), spending time with friends and family when we can, and focusing a lot more on building my ninja librarian skills!

In the meantime I'm writing the great American novel... 

Ha! Maybe one day... 

I plan to use this space in the future to share more of my writing, photography, coloring, thoughts on life (faith, philosophy, social justice, favorite movies? you just never know...) and occasionally a recipe may still pop up.

Oh and cat pictures... always cat pictures! :-)

Till next time! :-) Be well.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Simple Gluten-Free Banana Nut Muffins and Fall Photos

I've made quite a few banana nut muffins over the years... such as these, and these, and even these... but yesterday I just wanted the easiest recipe I could find.

I flipped through my baking cookbook and found a recipe that used my "master baking mix" (you could substitute gluten-free bi$quick or your favorite all-purpose GF baking mix) but I didn't have any on hand...  so I made it work for what I did have on hand:

Simple Gluten-Free Banana Nut Muffins
gluten-free, can be dairy-free, no xanthan or guar gums, can be egg-free
serves 12
print-friendly recipe

Dry Ingredients: 
2 cups gluten-free flour of YOUR choice -OR- my current favorite blend:
     -2/3 cup brown rice flour
     -2/3 cup arrowroot starch
     -2/3 cup almond flour (I prefer Honeyville)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Wet Ingredients:
2 medium bananas, mashed to oblivion (about 1 cup of banana puree)
2 large eggs (or egg substitutes)
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup non-dairy milk mixed with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice)
2 tablespoons lite olive oil -or- melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Line a muffin pan with paper liners and spritz them with non-stick cooling oil or lite olive oil.
  • In a large bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. 
  • In a smaller bowl whisk together all wet ingredients.
  • Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients and just mix until all the dry ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated into the wet ingredients. 
  • Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, spoon batter into a greased or paper-lined muffin tins until at least 3/4 full - but you can fill to the top, they will just rise taller.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, testing the middle with a toothpick inserted in the middle (should come out clean) to make sure the muffins are done. 
  • Cool on a wire rack and serve. These muffins can be stored on the counter for up to 3 days and they will retain their moisture. I would freeze them in small packages after that. 


Michael's mom playing with Charlie during a recent visit... 

In other news... I'm headed towards the end of my first graduate class and trying to get caught up on my last few assignments... because this final paper is not going to write itself...

Michael had a double ear-infection over the past week and I hope I NEVER have to see him go through something like that again. Talk about serious pain. I felt so bad for him. Thankfully after 3 trips to the doctor and 2 rounds of antibiotics + a huge antibiotic shot over the past three weeks, he's doing much better. And trust me on this one...after all that medication, give your loved ones probiotics... probiotics are the bee's knees my friends! Do it people!

I can't believe how FAST this semester has flown by.... I'm not sure if it's because I'm older and time in general seems to go by faster now or if school just has a way of making life do that... but I kinda wish it would slow down a bit! :-)

Happy Fall Everyone!

This guy has been lurking in the pecan tree over the past few weeks! We still can't believe he let Michael get this close!

Best buddies for life! Charlie & Whiskey Jack

So THIS was the publication that people
found a familiar face in... 

It's actually a 2nd printing from last year, which was why I was so surprised to see it!
Fun to see yourself in the drug store magazine selection though! :-) 

Our super sweet niece Cheyenne... 

Cheyenne decided I needed a friend to take home with me...
heart = melted!

Michael took this at the duck pond at work one morning. I love fall sunrises! 

Michael and his siblings.  So good to see them all together!

Fall decluttering... it took two loads to get it all in the car to Goodwill... and I'm not done yet...

Charlie's favorite spot!

A favorite shot of my father-in-law.. love this guy!

Gluten-free cupcakes I made for a friend's birthday.
I loved how the frosting turned out (Good ol' Pillsbury...). Used this recipe

All the snuggles and the sticking out of tongues!

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Afternoon Coffee, Procrastination, and Peanut Butter Cookies

Don't judge... Yes, that's instant coffee! I'm the only one who drinks coffee in the GLG household, I don't like the environmental impact of K-cups.. and let me tell you, Nescafe is darn better than Sanka (well, Sanka circa 1990 which tasted like charcoal.. I haven't tried it lately though... ;-) 

It's a quiet Sunday, I was enjoying a small afternoon cup of coffee and I pulled out my "Introduction to Library and Information Science" to begin reading chapters 8, 9, 10  for my assignment next week and then it dawned on me, it was a great time to make cookies.  I know, I thought it was brilliant timing too! 

My favorite peanut butter cookies are the ol'  "1 cup of peanut butter + 1 cup sugar + 1 egg" recipe... but I didn't want to use THAT much peanut butter (do you know how expensive peanut butter is these days?) or THAT much sugar... or really...let's be I need THAT many cookies?

Probably, I don't need any cookies...

A few months ago I bought a used hardback copy of the 1974 edition of the Joy of Cooking. I wanted to get a copy I could actually use since the beloved paperback that my Dad had when I was growing up, is literally falling apart.

I love that cookbook. His favorite chocolate chip cookies came from Ms. Irma Rombauer and probably a bunch of other meals we used to eat growing up like meatloaf, oyster stew, and chicken a' la King. I wonder where Irma learned to make chicken a' la King.

These are basically the peanut butter cookies in Joy of Cooking (1974 ed.), but I made them gluten-free (of course) and halved the recipe. You could easily make this recipe egg free, If you choose to do that I would replace it with 1 tablespoon of water mixed with 1 teaspoon of ground flax seeds. Stir that mixture together and allow it to 'gel.'

If you decide to double the recipe below, just use a whole egg instead of an egg white (or double up on the flax seed substitute.)

Basic Peanut Butter Cookies
adapted from the 1974 edition of 'Joy of Cooking' by Irma Rombauer
gluten-free, soy-free, easily egg-free, vegetarian
yields 30 - 1.5" cookies

Wet Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine of choice, (or even extra peanut butter if you're a big fan)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (we like chunky, all natural)
  • 1 egg white (or 1 tablespoon water mixed with 1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Dry Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot starch (or starch of choice -- potato starch, cornstarch, tapioca starch, etc...)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl cream together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and peanut butter, until creamy and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the egg white and vanilla. 
  4. In another bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. 
  5. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until you have a sticky, slightly wet cookie dough. 
  6. Drop batter by small spoonfuls (about a teaspoon and a half per cookie) onto the cookie sheet. Placing a few inches between each cookie - we make 12 cookies per batch. 
  7. Flatten cookies by gently pressing with the back of a fork in a criss-cross pattern. To keep the fork from sticking to the cookie, dip in granulated sugar between criss-crosses. 
  8. Bake for 11-14 minutes until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. 

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to School!

For the first time in over 12 years I'm headed back to school! I'm tempted to buy a new Jansport just to celebrate the occasion. (I actually still have my original high school Jansport from the late 90's! lol!) 

In July I was accepted into East Carolina University's Masters of Library Science program. I've worked or volunteered in libraries ever since my high school years and after talking with several co-workers about grad school I finally took leap to apply. It was a pretty big thing for me.

I thought about grad school years ago, but my GRE scores were so poor (I've never been a good "tester") that I didn't even attempt to apply to any programs. I thought for sure I'd never get in. I also I had the idea that I still didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up! :-) (Do we ever really know?)

But considering how much I truly love libraries and how I can't imagine NOT working in a library, I figure it might just be a good time to give the master's degree program a try! And I'm actually beginning to get really excited about it!

I've been a little nervous, as it's been such a long since I've been in school and I've never used online programs like Blackboard or Saba for completely online courses, but I can't wait to see how it works! If you have any tips on completing grad school courses while working full time, I'd love to hear them!

Another big transition for the GLG household is that Michael changed jobs in June. Michael now works with the IT department at East Carolina University and we're able to commute to work together. So we're both ECU pirates now!  There are a lot of opportunities for us both with these changes and I'm excited about what the future will bring!

So Michael's been at ECU over a month now, we're commuting together... which took a little getting used too for both of us...AND... I start school next Monday! Changes... changes.... it's the only real thing you can count on in life... right?

I also want to send out a big thank you for those of you who have kept my Dad especially in your thoughts and prayers! Dad has been doing really well over the past 9 months or so. He hasn't spent a day in the hospital since last November and I'm ever so grateful! His health is slowly improving and he's getting a little bit stronger every day. He even felt well enough a few weeks ago to ask Michael to help him get his good 'ol "pick-em-up" truck cranked and started after several years of not being able to drive it. Dad even had it washed and inspected!

And for my fellow kitty lovers... here's a few of my recent favorites!

Best buddies forever!

Charlie isn't a people snuggler, but he loves sitting next to you!

And Whiskey Jack enjoys viewing the world from a different perspective!

The girls always ready to eat!

High fiving... during a nap, no less! 

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